What Is Washi Paper?

What Is Washi Paper?

Long prized for its strength, textures, and functionality, Washi paper is a traditional piece of Japanese cultural heritage which has been produced for over 1,400 years. Here at Edofiber, we are proud of our work updating this time-honored art form for modern printing needs.

Washi: A Traditional Japanese Art

Washi is traditionally made from kozo and mitsumata and the wild gampi, woody plants that gave this form of paper some very unique advantages. Compared with modern mass-produced papers, Washi has always been tougher, stronger, more absorbent, flexible, and much longer-lived.

Traditionally, Washi was manufactured by means of a 22-step process, which included steaming the woody branches of the kozo, mitsumata, and gampi to facilitate stripping the bark. The fibers from the bark became the basis for Washi paper.

Each of the three woody plants used in making Washi is associated with its own particular style of Washi. By far the most common type is Kozo Washi, made from a type of mulberry. This type of Washi is famous for its strength, durability, and wonderful textures and ability to absorb ink. It is in many ways the most archetypal Washi, the one that embodies everything that Washi is.

Mitsumata Washi, on the other hand, is a delicate and elastic type of Washi. Known for its softness and flexibility, this type of Washi has a glossy appearance and is perfect for calligraphy and for printing paper.

Finally, Gampi Washi is particularly good at taking colors from dyes and infusions. This makes it the best choice for envelopes, stationery, postcards, business cards, and colored papers.

Manufacturing Washi Paper

Washi was made by hand in numerous Japanese villages for many centuries. This time-honored process included 22 different steps, by means of which the fibers were cleaned, beaten until soft, mixed with a starchy ingredient called tororo aoi, and eventually separated, brushed, and dried.

The result was a beautiful, luxurious Washi paper that was the pride of scribes, scholars, poets, and monks over the course of many centuries in Japan.

Although traditional Washi is beautiful as well as highly functional, the process of making it is far too laborious to ever be practical on a large scale. Recognizing this, Edofiber and its parent company, Nagai Paper Store, developed an innovative means of producing machine-made Washi paper.

Nagai pioneered a way of processing Washi paper that drew on the best aspects of the traditional process and harmonized them with modern mass-production technology.

The result is a beautiful and functional Washi paper, one which features unique textures that can only be found in Washi paper. Edofiber’s Washi products range from thick and durable to delicate and thin.

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Uses for Washi Paper

These many different textures have been created to facilitate an equally broad range of uses for Washi. It is ideal for everything from craft supplies to printing and packaging solutions.

Washi craft supplies include envelopes, file folders, scrapbook design paper, and many more. Washi envelopes can be designed custom for weddings and other events.

The perfect paper for scrapbooking and craft work, Washi comes in many different colors. It is ideal both because of its ability to hold color and because it is strong and not prone to ripping or tearing.

Washi is also ideal for artisan work, such as calligraphy. With its luxurious textures and superior absorbency, Washi makes for crisp, clear, beautiful calligraphy.

These same advantages also lend it well to printing, including digital printing and digital presses. There are a variety of printing uses to which Washi can be put, and it is better than conventional paper in this regard because it is better able to produce crisp, clear text and images as well as being more durable.

Edofiber has a variety of printing solutions which include letterpress printing, high-definition offset printing, and seal printing, as well as laminating Washi. Whatever your printing needs, Washi can deliver in a way that conventional office papers simply cannot meet.

Washi also has other practical uses outside of the office. It is remarkably effective as clothing protection: lightweight and yet strong and flexible, it is the ideal material to use for clothing protectors to keep out moths and other pests that pose threats to clothing when in storage.

Washi repels moths and other pests, keeping clothing in storage safe for long periods of time – and without any chemicals, like those used in mothballs.

Washi is also ideal for office solutions, again particularly because of its textures and ability to fix colors. Whether you are seeking to wrap a package or put it in a Washi box, the presentation will be highly aesthetic and impressive.

Washi’s durability and flexibility also make it perfect for file folders, envelopes, stationery, and other office supplies. It is strong enough to make for good, tough file folders and envelopes, and these attributes and its flexibility and ability to absorb color make it ideal as stationery.

Washi’s combination of features mean that it is a particularly good idea if you are looking for custom office supplies, i.e. with a company watermark or symbol. Use Washi for your office supplies, and you will be impressed by the remarkable combination of function and aesthetics.

Finally, many restaurant products, including placemats, chopstick covers, and more, are also highly applicable to Washi. Edofiber produces Washi products for these and many other needs: because Washi is both strong and flexible, it is optimal for these and many other needs.

Edofiber is your Source for Washi Paper

Washi paper is a traditional Japanese art form which remains highly relevant to modern printing needs. Whether you are interested in scrapbooking or restaurant products or office supplies, Edofiber has a Washi solution that can help you solve your problem.

Best of all, Washi combines the highly aesthetic with the highly practical: particularly compared with mass-produced office paper, it is both very beautiful and very functional – arguably far more so than any other paper.

From stationery to envelopes to placemats to gift boxes, Washi’s particular combination of durability, flexibility, absorbency, and luxurious textures make it the perfect solution for a wide variety of paper-based needs.


Washi Digital Paper: Traditional Meets Modern

Washi Digital Paper: Traditional Meets Modern

Washi digital paper is a cutting-edge, modern version of Japan’s famous traditional paper.

Long prized for its strength and absorbency, modern Washi paper is ideal for digital printing. Compared with regular paper, its greater absorbency and luxurious textures mean better printing jobs, with more vivid, beautiful colors and crisper images and text.

In designing this paper, we at Edofiber have taken great pains to reproduce the best aspects of traditional handmade Washi in a modern paper that is economical for mass production, while working to make our production process and the final product environmentally friendly and sustainable.

Traditional Washi

Washi paper was made by hand in Japanese villages for many hundreds of years, having been introduced from China around 610 CE by Buddhist monks.

Historically, the traditional process incorporated textile-like aspects, lending Washi a strength and beauty that would be unimaginable in any other paper. This traditional Washi continues to be prized for many artistic purposes.

This traditional Washi production continues in a number of Japanese villages today, but it is far too labor-intensive to ever be practical for mass production. For us to bring Washi to the office and modern digital printing, we had to find a better way.

Bringing Tradition into Modern Times

Together with our parent company Nagai Shigyo Co., Ltd., we have been manufacturing machine-made Washi since 1955.

Our process required a harmonious fusion of traditional quality and modern efficiency: we took the traditional Tesuki process of making Washi by hand and found a way to mechanize it without detracting from the incredible qualities of this traditional paper.

The result is beautiful Washi paper with luxurious textures and excellent absorbency, available for large-volume orders all around the world.

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Modern Washi Paper for Modern Printing Needs

What do you look for in paper? Whether you are looking to print out brochures, menus, programs, memos, or anything else, you need a paper that is versatile, strong, and able to handle a variety of different printing jobs to a high standard of quality.

Our Washi paper is perfect for fulfilling your modern printing needs. It combines durability, beauty, strength, and highly desirable textures.

One of the things that is most notable about Washi is how long it will last: highly durable, sheets of Washi endure far longer and preserve the quality of the print job far longer than conventional paper.

Washi holds colors far better than conventional paper, making for bright, crisp printing jobs. Use it for all of your digital printing needs: it is more than adequate for any printing job.

Finding a Japanese Washi Paper Supplier

Here at Edofiber, we are proud of our historic place as one of the largest distributors of Washi paper in the whole of Japan. We are on the lookout for business partners in both the United Kingdom and the United States, companies who are interested in buying and distributing our Washi digital paper.

Our product beautifully blends the traditional quality and aesthetic appeal of the age-old handcrafted Washi with mechanized efficiency, making a paper that is at once traditional and modern.